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Give King/Drew Center the Attention It Needs

September 29, 2004

Re "More Fuel on the Fire," editorial, Sept. 19: The Times characterized my ongoing efforts to assist King/Drew Medical Center as little more than "exploiting emotions for cheap political points" without offering solutions to the problems plaguing the hospital.

Where has The Times been? I have met repeatedly with members of the King/Drew Board of Trustees, as well as with members of its medical and nursing staffs and county, state and federal healthcare officials, to find meaningful and effective solutions to the problems plaguing King/Drew management. As a result, some progress has been made. I have received assurances from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that it would not withhold $200 million in Medicare payments -- an action that would have certainly closed the hospital -- and it would not attempt to close the facility outright in order to give officials at King/Drew more time to correct their management problems.

Instead of shutting down critical services, the county supervisors should refocus their attention on the failures in leadership that has brought King/Drew to the crisis it faces today. Changing the ineffective management culture at King/Drew and the Department of Health Services should be the supervisors' top priority, not cutting essential services to an already underserved community.

Rep. Juanita




It is time to make outstanding medical care the top priority at King/Drew. If the emergency room and the trauma center are essential, then close the rest of the hospital and give the resources to the ER and the trauma center. If, as The Times reported Sept. 25, even the trauma center has serious problems, then close the entire hospital and build from scratch.

If the rebuilding is slow and thoughtful and done one unit at a time, it should be possible for the Board of Supervisors to give King/Drew the attention and care it deserves.

Frank Kline

Rolling Hills Estates

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